When I was teaching in the classroom, this was the break I was most desperate for. Yes, I know it was only 10 weeks since the last break but maybe it was because this term is the coldest, the one filled with the most germs, coughing kids, flu, sore throats, etc, all I wanted was a break, and not to catch up with prep or marking but a break for me, no classes, no prep, no alarm clock.
So, I really get it that this is the term break when most families disappear from church, even when they are not going anywhere. Give me a break.
But when I was working in an inner city church, it surprised me that this was the break where we saw the largest increase in children, and not just our own members, we would see more travellers and their children, though of course the Christmas break and it’s luxurious 6 weeks was always the one where we had more non-community children present. Having come from the Suburbs, where universally the Sunday School program would end with term, the 3 weekends of the break would see the congregations average age increase dramatically as the children and their parents/caregivers disappeared.
It has always intrigued me that congregations, particularly congregations still running the Sunday School at the same time as church, a 250 year old model, don’t think outside the square and make these term breaks an occasion for experimentation. Make it a goal to run Intergenerational Services, or try Messy Church consistently each school break, or at the very least supply material that can help younger worshippers understand and participate in a traditional service.
Ok, I hear you say well what about the Sunday School Teachers? This is their chance to worship with the rest of the congregation. True, but I also find they are missing in action during these breaks.
OR if your congregation is happy to let the youngest members of your community rest away from Worship for 10 weeks of the year. Then the least you can do is use this time to encourage Family Faith Formation, by supplying programs that they can do as home worship. Some resources you might find useful are https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/14905/homegrown-participants-guide.pdf
Use your websites to give out suggestions for the Break,
or supply your families with websites or books that give good Family Faith Formation ideas.
At the very least start a lending Library so that Families and Grandparents can borrow beautiful Bibles, story book Bibles and storybooks that allow them to share the faith with a new generation.
Oh by the way, did I say I need a break!
Safe travels, safe downtime